Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Chilled Parsnip & Mushroom Soup

Several  years ago I had the MOST AMAZING chilled soup at Muriel’s on Jackson Square in New Orleans.  (The City that holds a piece of my heart and soul!)  I’ve tried four or five times to duplicate it… I think I’ve finally perfected it.  This is a wonderfully creamy refreshing soup – that is lower in calories than you would think.  Serve it chilled as a first course to lunch or dinner on a warm summer day.  Phenomenal!

2 ½ lbs parsnips, peeled and sliced into ½” rounds
3 cloves, smashed
2 chicken bouillon cubes
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
4 oz shallots, sliced
2 sprigs Thyme, strip the leaves from the stem
1 - 2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
5 – 6 cups chicken stock (I use Rachael Ray or Swanson’s)
2 spoons of “Better than Bouillon” Chicken  (Just a regular spoon from your silverware)
8 oz Fat Free Sour Cream
Salt & White Pepper to taste
Optional Garnish:  Truffle Oil and/or Chopped Chives
Place the cut parsnips, smashed garlic and bouillon cubes in a soup pot; cover with water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until fork tender.  Approximately 30 – 45 minutes.
Warm the olive oil and butter in a non-stick skillet; add shallots and mushrooms.   Sauté until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms are cooked.   Just before the mixture is done cooking, add the thyme leaves.  Add a touch of salt and white pepper to taste.
When the parsnip mixture is cooked; drain thoroughly.  Place half the parsnips, half the mushrooms, and half the chicken stock into a blender.  Blend until completely smooth.  Pour back into the soup pot.  Repeat with remaining parsnip, mushrooms and stock.  Add more stock, if necessary to the pot.  You want a creamy mixture – but not too thick. 
Return the soup pot to the heat.  Add the “Better than Bouillon” and heat until it just begins to bubble.   Remove from heat; whisk the sour cream into the soup.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.
Allow the soup to cool and then place into the fridge until chilled.
Serve with sprinkled chopped chives and a drizzle of truffle oil, if desired.  Could also serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Found these on Pinterest.   They are SOOO Yummy!  What a great recipe for the summer monthsThe original recipe can be found on the Improv Kitchen Blog, HERE.  Because baking is not my forte, I followed the directions to the letter.  The original recipe did call for ¾ cup sugar, but it was indicated if you preferred the dessert to be more sweet and less tart – increase the sugar to 1 ½ cups sugar.  I compromised and used 1 cup.  When I make these again, I think I will increase it to 1 ¼ cup – as indicated in the recipe below.
For the crust:
9 T. (1 stick + 1 T.) butter
¼ c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 t. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
For the filling:
12 oz (heaping 2 c.) frozen raspberries thawed
¼ c. sugar
⅔ c. lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
2 T. lemon zest (3 lemons worth)
3 egg whites
1 egg
⅔ c. flour
pinch of salt
powdered sugar for dusting on top
Preheat oven to 350º F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper so you can easily lift the bars out once they've cooled.
To make the crust:
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add in vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Dump dough in baking pan and press with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly golden brown.
To make the filling:
Thaw the raspberries.  (If don’t have enough time for the raspberries to thaw on their own, place in microwave for 1 minute to soften them up.)  Put the raspberries in a fine mesh sieve and press the berries through (this removes the seeds) into a large bowl. If you don't mind seeds, you can add them in whole. Or if you don't have a sieve, you can blend them up in a food processor or blender. Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice + zest, flour, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust (don't worry, it's a very loose mixture, it will thicken) and bake for 25 - 30 minutes depending on your oven and the sized baking dish you use.
Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or until they've cooled completely). You can place them in the freezer if you need them sooner but refrigerator is best. If you let them cool overnight, they're even better!
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